Keller’s suspicions are just wrong

By far the most obnoxious line in Bill Keller’s ornery new anti-social media New York Times Magazine column is this bit: The shortcomings of social media would not bother me awfully if I did not suspect that Facebook friendship and Twitter chatter are displacing real rapport and real conversation, just as Gutenberg’s device displaced remembering. This […]

Achieving your dreams: Less likely and less important than you think

People are bad at making predictions. That’s the conclusion of two New York Times columns from the past week. One explains the pervasiveness of “optimism bias”, which leads us to consistently overestimate our chances of success in our endeavors. The other argues that we tend to underestimate our adaptability and therefore overestimate the importance of […]

Google News: Trust the algorithm

I’ve written about the potential dangers of Google and Facebook using algorithms to recommend news, with the basic fear being that they’ll recommend stories that confirm my biases rather than “feed me my vegetables.” But Nieman Lab has an interview with the founder of Google News who has quite a different take on what he’s […]

Why we argue

Edge has a conversation with cognitive scientist Hugo Mercier on a paper he co-wrote on “the argumentative theory” of human reasoning. Here’s the gist: In Western thought, for at least the last couple hundred years, people have thought that reasoning was purely for individual reasons. But Dan challenged this idea and said that it was […]